Thursday, January 31, 2008

Gonna get me a ten point...

Earlier this week, Alex got a package in the mail from his Great Grandpa (aka Poppo) and Grandma Sally. They live in the Peoria area now, but back in the nineties, they moved from Illinois to a great little house on the river in Northern Arkansas, where they lived for several years before moving back. We spent many awesome vacations there, riding horses, floating the river, and removing ticks from places where the sun don't shine. Aahh, fond memories. So it is quite an ironic twist of fate that I find myself back here in Arkansas.

Anyway, about this package. Alex tried to chew his way through it but failed, so I opened it for him. It contained a letter which read:

Deer Alexander the Greater, Since you will be moved from Arkansas to Texas during your early formative years, there is a risk that your opportunity for cultural development will be diminished. Lord A'mighty, we must protect agin' that.

Enclosed please find an authentic "Deer Camp Hat" that you can proudly wear on the opening day of Deer Season and otherwise when riding in your Pickup Stroller.

Luvya' l'il feller.
[Great] Grandma and Grandpa - qualified former residents of the proud state of Arkansas!

As stated, it also contained a rugged and manly camo cap that is just as stylish as it is functional.

Now I'm gonna have to find out when the opening day of deer season is. 'Til then, he'll just have to wear it when the mood strikes him.

Here're some other random pics from that day. A was in high spirits (not that that is unusual) and was looking especially cute (not that that is unusual) so he was in the mood for hamming it up in front of the camera.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Air Out There

We've been trying to take advantage of the mild weather we've had lately by spending some time outside. I pretend to clean the garage while Alex repeatedly rolls himself down the driveway and into the grass.

And then he broke my comma....

Booger was playing with my computer, aka wreaking havoc on my keyboard by trying to grab the keys instead of pressing them, and he flicked the top off of my comma key. I shed a tear because I happen to be really fond of commas. I can still use it, but it's awkward to press a little nubbin instead of a key, and it is really putting a cramp in my style. I tried to compose this post without using any commas, as a way to metaphorically "pour one out" for my missing key, but it made me nauseous and I had to put them back in. Here's to you, comma key. You will be missed...

Monday, January 28, 2008


Alex got a dose of Grammy this weekend. He recently started doling out kisses (aka schlepping one's cheek with an excessively slobbery tongue) so Grammy made sure to get her fair share.

Although feeding him has been a messy affair lately (any suggestions on how to convince a six month old that blowing raspberries with a mouth full of peas is less-than-ideal timing?), A was on his best behavior when Grammy fed him. How prim and proper my little do-gooder is. Look Ma! When Grammy feeds me I keep my grubby hands out of my mouth!

Since Poppa (aka Papa) couldn't make it this weekend, he sent a little consolation gift. I don't know how many six month olds have their own cell phone, but of course, Alex is the exception, not the rule. I don't know if you know this, but he's kind of a big deal...


Alex has a new toy. His name is Murphy and he hates when bratty little babies steal his paper towel roll and chase him around the kitchen.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Please Keep Arms and Legs Inside the Crib at All Times (Formerly SuperMommy to the Rescue!!)

I woke up at 4:36 this morning to the Alex moaning and crying. On the rare occasions that he wakes up in the four o'clock hour, (and yes, it's always 4. Never 3, never 5. Always 4.) he'll usually go right back to sleep after a bottle and some QT with Mom. So I only let him cry for a minute before I headed downstairs to fix a bottle. By the time I got downstairs and started making his bottle, his moans and cries evolved into high pitched, wailing screams that are typically only associated with such dreadful things as bloody murder. That, I thought, is not a normal whiny Alex cry. Something is wrong. I dumped the last scoop of formula into the bottle, dusting the entire counter with a thick layer of formula powder in the process, and high-tailed it upstairs.

I whipped open his bedroom door and squinted into the darkness. Not wanting to blind my already hysterical baby by flipping on the main light, I turned the closet light on and turned toward his crib. I prepared myself for the worst. Like a giant, hairy, and foul-smelling creature with beady red eyes who had scooped Alex out of his crib and was devouring him limb by limb. At the same time, a second thought flashed through my head. There better be something wrong, I thought. If he turns around and smiles at me after all of this...

Lucky for him, he had a legitimate complaint. A poor little Alex leg was projecting from the side of the crib at a perpendicular angle. He was on his belly and had somehow managed to slide his leg under the bumper pad and between the slats. He must've wriggled around trying to set himself free, and in the process, had managed to wedge himself in up to the thigh. Seeing as how the slats are about two inches apart and the diameter of Alex's chunky little thigh is at least three, I could understand why he would be less than thrilled about his predicament.

It took some real elbow grease to work his little leg out from between those slats. Poor baby. I think he was more scared than hurt, but his thigh did have a good-sized dent in it that stuck around for the next couple of hours. He was still pretty upset once I freed him so I got to console him, which, despite there being something that causes need for consolation, is one of the best things about being a parent. I reveled in the attention as he clung to me as if to say, "Thank you Mommy for making me feel better." Yeah, life is good.

So we survived our first "emergency" situation sans any permanent injuries. I gave him his hastily prepared bottle and he went right back to sleep, not surprising considering he was probably jerked out of a sound sleep to find that he was stuck to the side of his bed. Let's just hope all future "emergencies" turn out so well...

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Nap Number Three Is History

Umm, yeeaaaaaahhhhh...that third nap is officially extinct.

Alex woke up from his "afternoon" nap at 2:05 (because he woke up at 6 and took his morning nap from 8-9:40, then took his afternoon nap at 12:00). By 4:00, he was starting to get restless and sleepy so I made the awful, terrible, horrible decision to let him catnap 'til 5, then tried to put him back to bed by 7. I'm not going to describe all of the tiresome events which led up to these videos because I'm tired, and blogging after 11pm when you're likely to be up with child at 6am is just plain stupid. So suffice it to say that the camera started rolling at 8:45pm this evening. For those of you keeping track, that is precisely two hours after Alex "went to bed"...

After a second "bedtime bottle", he finally went to sleep around 9:45pm. Oy vey. Hopefully he will make up for it by sleeping until 8 tomorrow morning. Yeah, I won't hold my breath...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

An Evening with Alex

Just thought I'd share what a "typical" evening is like with Alex these days.

He has been starting to phase out his third nap during the day and will often stay awake for many hours between his second nap and bedtime. As a result, we have been trying to move his bedtime up a little, just to make that transition easier. Last night, he woke from his nap at 2:45 and was in bed by 7. In the past, that large of a span would have resulted in some disastrous waketime, but lately, it isn't such a big deal.

In the past few weeks, he has been very aggressive with his bedding - yanking at it, chewing on it...somehow he even managed to untie the straps that hold his bumper together so that he could chew on them more easily. A couple of times when I've gone in to check on him, I've found him with his arm slung over the top of the bumper, clinging to it like he might do with a stuffed animal. In the last two evenings, however, I've come in to get him from his nap and found him on his stomach, mushing the top of the bumper down so that he could see through the slats in his crib.

After some dinner (peas, green beans, and a bottle) we play downstairs for a while, alternating between the walker, the jumperoo, sitting on the floor with toys, and tummy time (aka "crawling practice). We head upstairs around 6, where he plays in his room while I draw his water and get his bed stuff ready. He loooooves the activity cube that Grandma B got him and that will occupy him for long periods of time. It has fun gadgets and cha-chas on five of the sides, and I usually rotate it every night so he has a whole new set of things to explore.

Even if he starts sitting down, he inevitably reaches for something on the far side of the cube and - BLOOP!! - flops over onto the floor. No problem!! He has just as much fun when he's laying down as when he's sitting up. Plus, that means he can use his feet to play with it too (seriously, he does use his feet)!

Before his bath, I usually root around in his mouth to see if any more teeth have decided to make an appearance, and sometimes I'll give him some Tylenol or apply some Baby Orajel* if he's been crabby during the day and I suspect that gum soreness is to blame. Still just the one, so far. But I did manage to get a better pic than last time. (Oh, and imagine that his face is not covered in nasty baby food residue. He was about to take a bath so I didn't do the best job with the clean up at dinner time. Sue me.)

*Babies do not like Baby Orajel. It causes confusion, heartbreaking "Mommy, what's happening to my face?" expressions, massive amounts of drool, and even tears. I tried it myself before I gave it to him to see how strong it was (par for the course), and yes, it completely numbs everything that it comes in contact with. Not what I would describe as a "pleasant" feeling, by any means. Unless, of course, you have ragged little teeth attempting to tear their way through your sensitive gum tissue. Which is exactly why I went ahead and gave it to him. Because it's for his own good. Poor baby.

Onto bathtime. Let me use last night as a "typical" example of how bathtime goes. It started out as usual. He clawed for the washcloth when I went to scrub him down, so I gave him one of his own to keep him distracted while I washed his nethers.

Then I took it away.

Then I gave it back.

Yeah, he's entering that fun phase where he is starting to express obvious likes and dislikes. He is very sure to let me know that I've been a bad Mommy, usually in the form of an escalating scream that turns his head a lovely shade of aubergine until I distract him or give him what he wants.

I let him lounge in the tub a bit before I pull him out and get him ready for bed. The inflato-tub is fab - he doesn't bump his head if he falls over, it doesn't take much water to fill it up, and he has the option to kick back and relax if he's so inclined.

Usually a simple towel will do, but on this particular evening, he was inspired to don his robe and slippers that cousin Ashley got him and wind down a little more before retiring. He looked so cute that I didn't mind letting him stay up a few minutes later. He also begged me for a pipe and some good tobacco, but that's where I put my foot down.

Once he's done stalling around, I slather him from head to toe with a thick layer of Eucerin to keep his excema at bay (although, when paired with his forked tongue, scaly skin could only improve his sideshow act). It's hard enough to get his diaper and jammies on when he isn't oiled up like a greased pig, so it becomes a near impossibility at this point. After many frustrating moments, I am able to distract him with a toy long enough to keep him on his back and wrangle all of his flailing body parts into his jammies.

A bottle later and he is usually asleep before his head hits his mattress.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Tongue Untied

My poor little baby, he has been acting slightly out of sorts the last couple of days. I'm assuming the discomfort associated with this teething business is to blame for his uncharacteristic moodiness. However, despite his ailing gums, he has managed to keep his sense of humor and was entertaining me all afternoon. When I was feeding him pears this morning (which he has been throwing up all day, btw), I was sticking out my tongue and trying to get him to imitate me. At the time, I just got his furrowed brow, an expression which means that he thinks I'm being weird and is not really sure what to make of me. But later in the day, he discovered that sticking his tongue out and trying to talk around it is pretty amusing - for all of us. The video's kind of long, but trust me, it's worth checking out (and notice the teething-induced drooling in full effect)...

Seeing him stick his tongue out is actually a small victory for us because he has what the experts refer to as a "tight frenulum". Basically it means that the little thingy that attaches the tongue to the bottom of the mouth is closer to the teeth than normal and it can prevent the tongue from coming out very far. He has a pretty mild case and it's really not a big deal (although it does explain why he had such a hard time breastfeeding).

BTW, if you look really close, you may notice that his tongue is slightly forked. Seriously. Like a lizard. At least he will have a career in the sideshow to fall back on...

Monday, January 21, 2008

Chew on This

As predicted, I am writing to inform the masses that little Alex has grown a little tooth! Yup, right in the front of his little mouth. It's just barely peeking through his gums - really more of a tooth sprout than a full grown chopper. I discovered it last night during his bath. He kept grabbing at my hands and trying to put them in his mouth, which he hasn't really been doing much lately. Then he chomped down on my finger and I thought, "Is it...? Could it be...?" I went on a tooth finding expedition and rooted around in his mouth with my finger until I felt a bumpy little ridge. I attempted to acquire visual confirmation. Yes indeed. I spied the beginnings of a baby-sized tooth popping through his gums.

I'm not sure whether it's customary to describe the location of a tooth from the owner's perspective or your own, but the debut tooth is in the middle on Alex's bottom left. I tried to get a decent picture of it, which is much harder than it sounds. Poor Alex was totally perplexed as I repeatedly yanked on his lower lip and flashed a bright light in his face. So even if you can't spot his tiny little toothy in these pictures, please lie and say that you can so he doesn't think his efforts were all for naught...

Friday, January 18, 2008

Allergy Update

A was still pretty bumpy last night when he finally got up from his nap last night - no better or worse than he was earlier in the day, so I guess that's good news. And he was in a good mood when I went in to get him, so apparently he hasn't let the shots or a nasty rash affect his demeanor.

He slept in this morning (7 o'clock - woohoo!!) and when I went in to get him, he was a happy camper. You'd never know he was still covered in icky little bumps. But he was. Not quite as bad as yesterday, though, so I decided not to drug him up unless he gave me a reason to. He was actually a little giddier than usual and we had a lot of fun playing while Timothy was at school this morning.

Naps didn't go so well, however. His first nap was fine, but his afternoon nap lasted a whopping thirty minutes, whereas he's usually down for at least two hours. But then he was up and at 'em, so I guess a power nap was all he needed.

We tried for nap number three in the late afternoon, and I expected him to make up for the short midday one like he normally does. HA! Guess again, ma. I rocked him and drugged him and still only got another thirty minute nap out of him. He was pretty grumpy after he got up, so I fed him dinner, gave him a quick bath, and put him to bed. By that time, his rash had faded but was still hanging around. Hopefully tomorrow he will be the pasty white and smooth baby that he used to be (before bananas).

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Bye, Bye, Bananas

The probationary period for green beans was over yesterday so we decided to add banana baby food to Alex's portfolio. We were also looking forward to getting him on a three meal a day schedule, and I thought that making him eat peas or green beans for breakfast would just be cruel.

So when he woke up (at 6:40, darnit) this morning, we took him downstairs to eat his first "real" breakfast. I strapped him in and mixed 1/2 a container of bananas (yum) with about an ounce of rice cereal. He always opens his mouth wide at the sight of a spoon, which totally cracks us up. In this case, he didn't even know what the stuff on the spoon was going to taste like and he was still excited about it.

The bananas elicited the usual confused expression that appears whenever something new makes contact with his flavor-deprived taste buds. But he eagerly gulped down each bite, usually opening his mouth for another spoonful before the previous one had even been swallowed.

So he's a fan of bananas, it seems. (Does that make him a "fanana?" Or maybe a "banana fana?" I know, I'm such a dork.) We had an appointment at noon to take him back to the pediatric clinic to get his shots, so when he woke up from his morning nap, I went in to get him dressed. I noticed that his belly was a little irritated and made a mental note, but dismissed it as the result of his jammies rubbing against his belly when he was flailing around in his crib.

I changed him into his new black onesie from Grammy and the [bad apple] lounge pants that Granny B bought him way before he was born. I thought he kind of had a Woody Harrelson/yoga instructor thing going and considered getting him some baby bongos to complete the look. But we didn't have time for that. Once he was dressed, we headed to the clinic. It had snowed a tiny bit last night and it was freeeeezing cold out, so we made sure A was good and bundled.

He really enjoyed watching the fish swim around in the aquarium at the clinic. It was his first time ever seeing such a thing, so I can imagine why he'd be so fascinated.

We waited for about twenty minutes before they called us in. But A was very patient and funny and entertaining, as usual. Poor thing, he had no idea of the fate that awaited him...

We always meet with the same two nurses that run the study - Jennifer and Tiffany - so Jennifer called us back and let Alex know that he must not have prayed hard enough because his medicine had come in, and he would, indeed, be getting his shots today.

When we got to the exam room, we stripped off his pants to expose his pudgy thighs, aka "the injection sites". While Timothy, Alex, Jennifer, and I waited for Tiffany to bring the medicine, I mentioned to Jennifer that Alex's belly was sort of splotchy this morning. We took his shirt off to show her and noticed that the "little bit of redness" had turned into a nasty patch of red bumps. She poked at him for a few minutes, and as we watched, the rash seemed to spread before our very eyes. The little bumps all started to run together to form one giant, welty red splotch in the middle of his belly. The bumps that had not succumbed to peer pressure started migrating up his arms and around to his back. She had a few theories, including banana allergies or a virus, but decided to consult our pediatrician for a second (or first) opinion.

Dr. Silvey came in and took a look at him. The redness and welts did seem to indicate an allergy of some sort, although we all agreed that bananas were kind of a strange thing to be allergic to. Some type of virus could also be to blame, and if so, there was really nothing we could do about it. He suggested that we hold off on shots for a few minutes and observe whether the rash would continue to get worse. It was at that point that I had to wonder...

...were these symptoms psychosomatic? Maybe Alex used his mindpower to conjure up some bizarre rash so that he could avoid his shots again! Maybe he felt guilty for eating bananas this morning considering one of his best friends happens to be a banana (albeit a plush one) and he devised a plan to eliminate bananas from his diet and assuage his guilt, as if the rash was a penance of some sort...or maybe he is just weird and happens to be allergic to bananas.

Whatever the case, the doc came back in after a while, and although his condition had neither improved nor gotten worse, he suggested that we go ahead with the shots since they wouldn't affect nor be affected by the rash. So Alex's plan, if he had one, was foiled, and he ended up getting stuck with needles anyhow. I sat in a chair and closed my eyes while the nurses pricked him and then Timothy got to console him (which is only fair since he is the one holds him down when he gets shot). He cried for a grand total of 3 seconds, only as long as it took them to administer the shots, then he was back to his normal, bubbly self.

Other than his bright red and bumpy body, that is. He kept scratching at it so the doc suggested that the nurses give him a mega dose of baby Benadryl, then advised us to hold off on bananas for a month or so. They also reiterated to call them if it got any worse, like if his eyes started to get puffy. And, of course, to call 9-1-1 if he was coughing a lot like his throat was swelling up and he couldn't breathe. GULP. I had been taking this whole potential allergy thing pretty lightly until I heard that. For some reason, the gravity of the situation didn't occur to me until the words, "nine-one-one" were uttered...

A was practically asleep by the time we got out to the car. I gave him a bottle when we got home and put him to bed, although I was a little apprehensive about putting him to bed...alone...where I couldn't monitor him every second to make sure he was still breathing...But I sucked it up and did it anyway, with the comforting thought that I could check on him as often as I wanted to. And so, that's where he has been for the last three hours. Awww, my poor, sleepy, drug induced baby...

Looooonnng story short, Alex had bananas, liked 'em, got bumpy, went to get shots, got bumpier, got shots, stayed bumpy, got drugs, got a bottle, got some sleep. So hopefully he will awake refreshed and bump free. BTW, tomorrow's breakfast will be pears and rice cereal...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Special Delivery

Alex got a package in the mail today from Eldo. Inside was a bunch of cute, er, macho clothing - a t-shirt from cousin T-rash, aka Ashley Kaye, perfect for a boy interested in manly things like hunting and basketball (the shirt is camo print with the words "Super Hoops" on it), an awesome army-inspired jacket from Auntie L, and a bunch of adorable things from Grammy and Poppa (some long-sleeved onesies and an "All-Star" outfit). Of course, he was more interested in whether they were edible rather than wearable...